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What is the deal with Portuguese?

What is the deal with Portuguese?
Reads like Italian, sounds like Russian? 
We hear you – tough language to explain. Here’s the deal: 
Portuguese is a derivative of Latin – and one of a few such languages on the Iberian Peninsula that grew up after the fall of the Roman Empire: Castilian (or Spanish). Galician, and Catalan are some of the others. 

One of the first written works of Portuguese literature is the poem “Cantiga d’Amigo” by Portugal’s second king, D. Sancho I, some 800 years ago. In fact ancient Portuguese is pretty easy to read for the modern Portuguese speaker, unlike Ye Old English.
The language, like the country, began in what is today Northern Portugal and Galicia. But, it was the first European language to be recognized as official by the royal court. In 1288, King D. Dinis (1261 –1325), created the first Portuguese university and decreed that Portuguese, then know-as the "common language" be known as the Portuguese language and officially used in place of Latin – a first for post-Roman Europe. D. Dinis himself would author hundreds of poems. Today Portuguese is the 7th most spoken language in the world, with more than 230 million speaking it in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.


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